Acme Revival, a start-up that connects clinics and physicians with medical devices that they refurbish in-house, incorporates an atypical element to their operation that could potentially help save and rebuild coral reefs.
The start-up recycles obsolete medical devices- breaking them down into fine particles that are then used as flat surfaces for the propagation of soft and stony corals. Through a grinding process, Acme is able to use the unsalvageable parts of medical devices to construct 1 x 1 inch square surfaces for newly propagated corals to grow on. Large colonies of coral are cut into small enough pieces so that, with the help of a natural bonding agent, they encrust on the newly created flat surface.
This method of asexual coral propagation uses fragments of typically wild Indonesian coral colonies that face a limited future and critical stress due to changing water environments. Acme houses propagated colonies in custom fiber glass systems with artificial lighting and controlled salt water conditions to mimic ideal reef conditions. Coral fragments newly placed on these surfaces begin to grow- after a short curing process- and can then be introduced into struggling (native) coral reef shorelines.
The company states that components of (older) medical devices make ideal environments for coral reefs- even in scale- thanks to a complex structure and typically heavy steel or aluminum chassis’. In a Zoom® conversation with Acme technician Phillip Lee, it was demonstrated how a single device weighing nearly 40-pounds can offer up to 25 square feet of surface area for new coral habitat. He also explained how potentially harmful materials such as electronic components, circuit boards, and batteries are discarded through other recycling methods.
With recent studies conducted by the Journal of Nature finding an 89% decrease in new coral primarily within Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, ecosystems are struggling to remover from massive coral bleaching events caused by oceanic heat waves.
Although still in a validating stage, Acme hopes to expand their coral propagation facility to nearly 10,000 gallons of water by 2022.